Journal archives for June 2016

14 June, 2016

Bleakley Ranch Campout with Hill Country Conservancy 2016-06

I was lucky to be able to join another Hill Country Conservancy EPIC campout last weekend on June 11 and 12, 2016. It was on one of their conservation easement properties, the Bleakley Ranch just west of Dripping Springs. Attached are my observations.

When I visited last October everything was so dry. It was exciting to see the place transformed by all our recent rain! There was a flowing creek with a handful of beautiful holes like this one fed by small waterfalls.

Upstream Falls

Here are my eBird checklists:

A few more photos are here.

Posted on 14 June, 2016 00:51 by mikaelb mikaelb | 30 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

19 June, 2016

Nalle Bunny Run Group Walk 2016-06-18

Only four folks joined me on Saturday morning for the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Preserve. It was a warm morning, but we enjoyed finding 25 species of birds and some other cool stuff. Here are some highlights.

All morning we heard at least two different singing Painted Buntings, but we could never get a look at one. I was only able to get this distant photo of one of them before the group arrived:

Painted Bunting

Insects were as engaging as the birds this morning. There was this velvet ant we saw near the gate before we started the hike. (Velvet ants are actually solitary flightless wasps.)
Velvet Ant

In the dense oak-juniper woods east of the driveway we found a young Texas Persimmon tree covered in a light gray powdery substance. When we looked closer we saw it was covered in these small bugs. Thanks to @earthgrazer for the ID on these. They turned out to be Citrus Flatid Planthoppers the feed on the tree's sap, and create that light gray wax as well. If you zoom in on the photo, you can see their yellow eyes!
Leaf Hoppers

Near the spring I was excited to find the largest damselfly in North America, this Great Spreadwing which is about two inches long:
Great Spreadwing

And later we found North America's smallest dragonfly, this male Eastern Amberwing which is only about one inch long:
Eastern Amberwing

Great Blue Herons are usually a fly-by observation on the Bunny Run, but down on the sandy prairie area we found this one loafing in a juniper tree:
Great Blue Heron

What a fun morning!
Here's our complete bird list.
Here are a few more photos.
And attached are the same photos as iNaturalist observations.

Posted on 19 June, 2016 22:01 by mikaelb mikaelb | 18 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

25 June, 2016

Shield Ranch 2016-06-25

I was so fortunate to be able to spend a couple hours on the Shield Ranch this morning with its executive director and land steward, Terri Siegenthaler. We were scouting and brainstorming for a couple wildlife observation hikes I'm planning to lead next week for their Conservation Corps program. I couldn't resist bringing my camera along for a few photos. Observations are attached.

Posted on 25 June, 2016 18:44 by mikaelb mikaelb | 5 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment